Remote I-9 Flexibility Changes and How They Impact You

August 9, 2023 by Verified First

Remote Form I-9 Changes and How They Impact You

The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced the sunsetting of the temporary COVID-19 flexibilities for Form I-9. With the flexibilities set to expire on July 31, 2023, employers taking advantage of the flexibilities will have until August 30, 2023, to complete all required physical inspections of identity and employment eligibility documents. 

If you’re overwhelmed by the upcoming changes, you’re in the right place. Below, we’ll briefly overview Form I-9 and the temporary COVID-19 flexibilities, what these changes mean for your organization, and how you can start the physical inspection process. 

What is Form I-9? 

The government uses Form I-9 to verify the identity and employment authorization of all employed individuals hired for employment in the US. Every employer must properly complete a Form I-9 for each new hire in the United States before they begin work. 

The Form I-9 process is highly time-sensitive. The form must be completed after an applicant accepts the offer of employment and must be signed within three business days of the date that employment begins. If the form is not completed by the third business day, employers are required to report the reason for the delay. 

Components of Form I-9:

  • Section 1: Employee Information and Attestation
  • Section 2: Employer or Authorized Representative Review and Verification
  • An employer or an authorized representative of the employer completes this section.
    • Employers or their authorized representatives must physically examine the documentation presented by the employee and sign the form.
  • Section 3: Reverification and Rehires 

Temporary COVID-19 Flexibilities for Form I-9

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, many organizations began working remotely. This made the physical inspection of required form I-9 documents challenging, causing hiring delays, compliance issues, and stress. 

Due to these complications, ICE created temporary flexibilities to verify documents for people working remotely. The new temporary rules permitted employers to virtually verify employees’ documents via video, fax, email, and more.

How Form I-9 Flexibility Changes Impact Employers

The first Form I-9 flexibility procedure was implemented in March 2020 and continued to be extended in light of the ongoing situation. Now, these flexibilities are set to expire at the end of July 2023. 

This means that moving forward, employers must physically inspect and verify all employee work authorization and identification documents necessary for the Form I-9 process. These changes also require employers to complete an in-person verification for all documents that have been virtually verified since March 2020. 

You can learn more about Form I-9 flexibilities and how they impact your organization in our latest webinar, Remote Form I-9 Flexibility Changes: What to Know

Steps to Prepare for Form I-9 Flexibility Changes

If you have been taking advantage of the temporary Form I-9 flexibilities, then you should begin taking action now. Employers do not have to wait until July 31, 2023, to start physically inspecting employee documents that were previously inspected virtually. In fact, you are encouraged to start the physical inspection process as soon as possible in order to meet the August 31, 2023 deadline

If you don’t know where to begin, here are some immediate steps you can take to prepare your organization: 

  1. Identify all forms that need updating. Any employee documents that were virtually inspected since March 2020 must be physically inspected. Ideally, you have been tracking these forms the whole time. 
  2. Create a plan. Account for how you will communicate with individuals on what is required of them for physical inspection. This plan should also outline how you will track the updates.  
  3. Determine physical inspection method. Will employees have to come to the office for a physical inspection? Or will you use an Authorized Representative or both? 
  4. Prepare and train your team. Ensure your employees understand how to conduct physical inspections. Be sure to follow Form I-9 compliance rules, like allowing individuals to present their choice of identity and work authorization documents
  5. Document the process. ICE requires written documentation outlining your remote onboarding and telework policy for each employee. 

Verified First and Form I-9

If you’re still operating with a remote workforce or just looking for some additional Form I-9 support, Verified First has you covered. We offer a digital Form I-9 and E-Verify solution that helps you achieve end-to-end compliance. 

With Tracker I-9, users can utilize remote I-9 solutions that will allow the Section 2 documents to still be reviewed physically. This includes access to leverage their Network Alliance of Authorized Agents or Friends and Neighbors. Our fully electronic integration will manage the Form I-9 process from start to finish, working to easily verify documentation and eligibility status. 

From paper form to digitized I-9 form management and compliance, Verified First delivers more efficiency, streamlined hiring, superior security, and best-in-class client care.

Contact us to get started!

About Verified First
Verified First is known for delivering streamlined background screening backed by the best client support, and for developing the easiest, fastest HR system integrations, for free. Our client support team is U.S.-based, answers calls in seconds, resulting in hundreds of positive testimonials and a 96% customer satisfaction. Verified First's patent-pending, award-winning integrations include over 100 applicant tracking systems, and provide clients a turn-key experience.

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